Trapping in North Carolina

Regulated trapping is an integral component of wildlife conservation programs, as it controls abundant wildlife, removes nuisance animals, aids in restoring native species, and protects habitat, property and threatened and endangered species.  

What to Trap


Seasons & Limits


Laws & Safety

2018-19 Trapping Regulations and Information

The following trapping regulations are effective August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019.


Statewide Restrictions


Every trap must be visited daily and any animal caught therein removed, except for completely submerged Conibear™-type traps, which must be visited at least once every 72 hours and any animal caught therein removed.

Tagging Requirement

Bobcat and Otter Tags (CITES tags):

  • Needed to sell or otherwise transfer ownership of bobcat or otter carcasses or pelts.
  • All bobcat and otter carcasses or pelts shall be properly tagged within 30 days following the close of the applicable hunting or trapping season. Unused tags can be used in subsequent seasons.
  • $2.20 per tag
  • Call (888) 248-6834 for information on purchasing Bobcat and Otter tags.


Fox Tags:

  • Needed to sell or otherwise transfer ownership of a fox carcass or pelt.
  • All fox carcasses or pelts shall be properly tagged within 30 days following the close of the applicable hunting or trapping season. Unused tags can be used in subsequent seasons.
  • $2.25 per tag
  • Call (888) 248-6834 for information on purchasing fox tags.
  • No fox tags needed in Beaufort, Chowan, Davidson, Hyde, Johnston, Rockingham and Stokes counties and Winston-Salem due to local law exemption.

Legal Trap Types

Collarum Reporting Forms

Collarum-type traps can be used only on coyotes and only under a depredation permit. All non-targets must be released

All forms are in a PDF format

Fox Laws

Only the N.C. General Assembly has the authority to allow fox harvest in a county through passage of a local law. 

Click here for more county-specific information on fox harvest seasons

Local Laws

Unlawful Harassment


In North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to interfere intentionally with the lawful taking of wildlife resources or to drive, harass, or intentionally disturb any wildlife resources for the purpose of disrupting the lawful taking of wildlife resources on public or private property. NOTE: This law does not apply to activity by a person on land he owns or leases or to a person who incidentally interferes with the taking of wildlife resources while using the land for other lawful activity such as agriculture, mining, or recreation.

Violation of this subsection is a misdemeanor punishable for a first conviction by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00, by imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, or by both and punishable for a second or subsequent conviction by a fine left to the discretion of the court. (North Carolina General Statute 295)


If you experience unlawful harassment, immediately notify your nearest wildlife enforcement officer, county sheriff's office or local police department. Advise the authorities of this law and that you wish to hunt peacefully.


Do not provoke a fight, threaten reprisals or use profanity. Remember these anti-hunting activists are seeking confrontation and may be accompanied by the news media.

Furbearer Management

Regulated trapping is the key tool used by the NCWRC to proactively manage furbearer populations so that they are in balance with people, threatened and endangered species, and the available habitat.  Advancements in trap design and trapping techniques have contributed to the improvement in the welfare of the captured animal. In fact, the modern traps used by today’s trappers are the same traps used by biologists to study wildlife. For example, foothold traps were used to capture river otters for restoration efforts in North Carolina. 

Funding for furbearer management comes from hunting and trapping license revenues and the federal excise taxes on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. Most furbearer management is not funded with general tax dollars, yet furbearer management benefits all citizens.

Learn/ Resources


  • Identify the wildlife species involved.
  • Before contacting for assistance be certain the problem is sufficiently severe and persistent so as to require action.
  • Consider the alternatives in the following order:
    • Remove food sources, cover materials or vegetation, overhanging tree limbs, or other means of access that initially attracted and is now holding wildlife in your location.
    • Establish protective structures or barriers to prevent wildlife from entering and damaging property.
    • Humanely remove wildlife from buildings and grounds. (If trapping, transporting or killing wildlife is involved, a Wildlife Depredation Permit will be needed.)
    • Permanently repair buildings to prevent re-infestation.
    • Monitor buildings and grounds periodically for recurring problems, taking appropriate, immediate attention to control and prevent damage.

If these measures fail to resolve the wildlife-caused damage, contact a Wildlife Damage Control Agent by county of residence. Find a Wildlife Service Agent below.

Find a Wildlife Service Agent


Citizens are advised to contract for the services of a WDCA in the same way one selects a vendor for carpentry, plumbing or other repair services. For example, an explanation of the service to be provided, the expected cost involved, and references can be requested of WDCA prior to entering into a contractual agreement.


Citizens may wish to control wildlife damage themselves. Information on techniques is available from:

  • Each County Extension Center
  • NCWRC and USDA - WS at (919) 786-4480

NC Wildlife Law Enforcement Officers, NCWRC Wildlife Biologists, and WDCAs can issue wildlife Depredation Permits to citizens at no charge.